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Facebook’s Own Research Shows Instagram Toxic For Teens

Facebook is under fire for its internal research into the impact of Instagram on its teenage user-base, which concludes that teenagers blame Instagram for an increase in their depression and anxiety.

Not surprisingly, the company kept its findings secret, until a Wall Street Journal investigation uncovered them.

A presentation slide from 2019 reads: “We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.”

Another reads, “Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression.”

Another: “This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.”

The research found that, among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, “13 per cent of British users and 6 per cent of American users “traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram”.

These findings were presented internally, and built from multiple focus groups conducting by the company, online surveys, and “diary studies.”

Instagram does not dispute this, and posted a lengthy rejoinder on its blog defending its research.

“We’ve done extensive work around bullying, suicide and self-injury, and eating disorders, to help make Instagram a safe and supportive place for everyone.

“Based on our research and feedback from experts, we’ve developed features so people can protect themselves from bullying, we’ve given everyone the option to hide ‘like’ counts and we’ve continued to connect people who may be struggling with local support organisations.”

It says the research has led to positive changes in the platform, and continues to do so. It also promised to be transparent about further research.

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